There were three Thursday games this week, and most left me wanting more out of them. The first game had the promise of a great game in the first half, but then Jay Cutler and the Bears never came out of the half, while the Lions kept firing on all cylinders. In the second game between division rivals, Philly and Dallas, I thought that Dallas was going to give the Eagles a good run for their money. Well this one was over fairly quick as the Cowboys offense got nothing going outside of DeMarco Murray. For the late game, it was a match of who could play the better defense. While this is still good football to watch, the fantasy owner in me wanted to see a little more excitement in the game. At least there were games to watch on Thursday though, and it always provides a good talking point when you are with your family enjoying Thanksgiving.
After going over my thoughts on the top performers at each position, I will also select a few other players who either performed above expectations, or maybe have you questioning whether you should continue starting him or not. After this week since most fantasy playoffs will be going, I will start to talk about player's values as it pertains to 2015 as well to help give you readers that are out of it something to look for as well.
The goal of this article is to highlight those top guys, and if you can expect some similar performances in the future from them or if it was a flash-in-the-pan, and also whether you should be worried about top picks in drafts that put up less than stellar performances. So without rambling on longer in this intro, let's take a look at those who performed well in week 13.
QB - Ryan Fitzpatrick 358 Passing Yards, 6 TD's, 2 Rushes for 10 Yards 39 Fantasy Points
For some reason this year, throwing for six TD's is no big deal. Roethlisberger has done it twice, and Rodgers did it in one half of action. Fitzpatrick is easily the most surprising one week performance so far this season out of the QB position. Not only did he throw for 6 TD's, but he did it against a defense that had allowed one TD in each of the last six games via the pass. I would love to say that Fitzpatrick will carry this forward the rest of the season, but the Texans are such a run heavy team that he will go back to his early season form to finish off this season.
QB - Andrew Luck 370 Passing Yards, 5 TD's and 1 INT, 4 Rushes for 20 and 1 Fumble Lost, 32 Fantasy Points
Luck has been a staple of this list this year, and has now had his third game of over 30 fantasy points. There will be some great debate over who will be the first QB taken off the board next year in fantasy drafts. You can make a great case for any of Manning, Rodgers, or Luck. Right now I would give the edge to Manning, but only slightly over the other two guys. As we have seen this season, it may be more beneficial to take a stud QB early so that you are not stuck with the Ryan, Romo, Newton, Kaepernick class of QB's.
QB - Drew Brees 257 Passing yards, 5 TD's, 30 Fantasy Points
For as bad as Brees has been this year, he was still the fifth best QB going into week 13. After this week he will jump ahead of Wilson for the fourth spot, but has a very slim chance of catching up to the big three. The Brees we are seeing this season will be the norm going forward the next couple of years. Inconsistent play will be there from week to week, but he also will single-handedly win you a week.
RB - Tre Mason 14 Carries for 117 Yards and 2 TD's, 3 Catches for 47 Yards and 1 TD, 33 Fantasy Points
Well I think someone was thankful to play against the Raiders this week. The Rams made the Raiders look like they didn't even belong on the same field as them, and this is a Rams team that now only has five wins. Mason looked great in the limited work he got, and would have done more if the score was any closer than it was. The Raiders have a bad run defense, so the fact that Mason was able to do this is not too surprising. Going forward Mason is a borderline top 15 back only, and that is because he is on an offense that usually has limited scoring opportunities. Next week against the Redskins don't expect anything special, as they have allowed the fourth fewest points to opposing RB's going into week 13.
RB - Le'Veon Bell 21 Carries for 95 Yards and 1 TD, 8 Catches for 159 Yards, 30 Fantasy Points
It was a tale of two halves for Bell against the Saints this week. In the first half Bell did a terrific job of running the football. In the second half Bell turned into a pass catcher while the Steelers tried to mount a comeback. Whether the Steelers are up or down, you know because of Bell's skill set that he will be heavily involved in the gameplan. He is a top 5 back the rest of the way, and should do well the next couple of weeks.
RB - C.J. Anderson 32 Carries for 168 Yards, 2 Catches for 17 Yards and 1 TD, 23 Fantasy Points
Second straight week for Anderson making this list, as he has ran for over 330 yards during that span. I was surprised that he actually surpassed his carry total from the last game, and wonder if he is going to be a true bell cow now. Even though that isn't necessary for his value, it is nice to see him get somewhere between 20 and 25 touches each game, and a TD almost assured as well. A clear top 10 back the rest of the way, as this train is not going to be stopping.
WR - DeAndre Hopkins 9 Targets, 9 Receptions for 238 Yards and 2 TD's, 35 Fantasy Points
A product of having Ryan Fitzpatrick play the game of his life out there. Hopkins has shown the talent to do something like this all season, but never would I have imagined him going this big in a game. As I mentioned under Fitzpatrick, I don't know if the Texans are ever going to throw the ball enough times to make Hopkins a consistent top ten option each week. Easily in my top 20 and probably top 15, but top 10 is difficult knowing that he will have limited chances to work with.
WR - Calvin Johnson 16 Targets, 11 Receptions for 146 Yards and 2 TD's, 26 Fantasy Points
There is something about Matthew Stafford on Thanksgiving that I just don't understand. Even in a year like this one where he has been average at best, he goes out there and plays phenomenal. The main beneficiary of that play is none other than Calvin Johnson. I had him rated lower in my rankings (bottom of the top 10) the last few weeks since coming back from his injury because he hadn't looked 100% yet. Johnson looked anything but hurt in the game, and has firmly placed himself back into the top 5 WR class for the rest of the season.
WR - Donte Moncrief 4 Targets, 3 Receptions for 134 Yards and 2 TD's, 25 Fantasy Points
Well we saw what Fitzpatrick did for Hopkins, but what Luck did for Moncrief is a surprise. I would have guessed T.Y. Hilton to have been the man to catch to long TD's from Luck, but when you are playing against the Redskins, I guess anything can happen. Moncrief is way too hard to trust going forward, as he is too dependent on a game being a blowout like this one, and catching the defense sleeping as he runs a route past them. I wouldn't even consider starting him unless an injury to Hilton and Wayne happen.
TE - Coby Fleener 7 Targets, 4 Receptions for 127 Yards and 2 TD's, 24 Fantasy Points
When Dwayne Allen was ruled out last week, I was excited for the opportunity that Fleener was going to have. That turned out to be one week too early, as he had his big explosion this week. As I mentioned when talking about Moncrief, he was playing against a terrible Redskins defense, but nonetheless, Fleener is talented. If for some reason Allen is unable to go next week, Fleener is a top 5 option.
Now a look at a couple of other performances that stood out to me from Sunday's games:
QB - Johnny Manziel 63 Passing Yards, 0 TD's, 2 Rushes for 13 Yards and 1 TD, 9 Fantasy Points
Hoyer was benched after throwing his second pick of the game, with the Browns trailing the Bills early in the fourth quarter. Once Manziel entered the game, he immediately led them on a scoring drive where he ran in the score. After that Manziel wasn't able to get much going, but that one drive shows what he can do for you. If he is named the starter, I would put Manziel around the top 12 for the next week and going forward because of his running abilities paired with Josh Gordon. Hopefully Cleveland makes a decision before waiver claims have to go out there, that way you know if it is worth putting one out there for him.
RB - Doug Martin 18 Carries for 58 Yards and 1 TD, 1 Catch for 3 Yards, 11 Fantasy Points
I'm not really going to talk much about Martin here, but more so about the state of the Buccaneers backfield at the moment. Sims was pulled off IR a few weeks ago and looked like he was going to become the lead back. Well with Martin picking up a bulk of the carries in this game, I am willing to call this backfield a mess like some of the other ones out there. It is not worth starting anyone of these guys going forward, and if you need room to pickup a different guy, I have no problem dropping Sims, Martin, or Rainey to do so.
WR - Davante Adams 11 Targets, 6 Receptions for 121 Yards and 0 TD's, 12 Fantasy Points
I have been waiting for the week where Adams becomes a big part of the offense, and here it is. Now it looked as though the Patriots didn't want to be beaten by Nelson and Cobb that they focused much of their defensive attention to them, which left Adams room to work. I see this being inconsistent going forward, but he can be a desperation FLEX or WR3 play for you if the matchup is right. If you own him currently in a dynasty league, look for a year similar to Randall Cobb's second year for him next year as he builds up that connection with Rodgers.
Want thoughts on a specific player? Leave a comment on who it is, and I will respond with my thoughts on that guy's performance and where he stands going forward.